The area of refuge only applies to truckies forcing apartment doors, correct?
Refuge ref-uge (noun, verb) shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc. a place of shelter, protection, or safety.
It is common in our culture and operations to expect engine companies to get as close as safely possible to the seat of the fire in order to make the most efficient attack possible (or most efficient as scientific research and field application have proven). The problem in this approach is that the experience of being tactically close is that the tell tale signs of this have led to "experience makeup." The "salty" look is equated with aggressiveness and runs counter towards "too safe".
Calling for water.
Hoseline begins to be filled.
The point here isn't that they should have abandoned their positioned and pulled the blitz line, writing off the structure. The point is, don't allow your need for "experience makeup" and a twisted sense of "aggressive firefighting" to damage a good fire attack. You don't know if that line will get charged, if a length will burst or if the fire conditions will quickly change (i.e. Riverdale, MD; San Francisco, CA; Prince William County, VA). Had the nozzle team in this video not gotten the water they needed, the members would have had to raise themselves up, into the flames, in order the access the ladder. Yes, no problem so long as they wear all their PPE, I get that and have been there personally. But ask yourself this: in all the time you practice making the attack, do you give equal time to practicing how to recover when things go sour? It happens all the time and we have the abundance of reports highlighting how common basic skills were forgotten.
Simple solution: Back down to the ladder, wait for water and when it comes, open the line, drive the stream into the ceiling area, move in and kill it.
Still just as aggressive and utilizes an area of refuge. The makeup will still come, but in a more respectable way.
Bill Carey is the daily news and blog manager for Elsevier Public Safety (FireRescue Magazine/Firefighter Nation, JEMS and LawOfficer sites.) Bill also manages the FireEMSBlogs.com network and is a former volunteer lieutenant with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George's County, Maryland.
Also on Backstep Firefighter …
- Filling the Probie’s Pockets – October 18, 2012
- Defining Aggressive, Part I
Tasks and Identity – November 7, 2012
- Warren Working:
First Due Truck to the Working House Fire – November 16, 2012
- Uppsala Working:
First Due Engine Footage of Swedish Apartment Fire – August 1, 2012